On Friday cricket will enter the great unknown. For the first time ever a Test match will be played under lights. Australia and New Zealand face each other in the first-ever day/night Test to be held at the Adelaide Oval and the stakes are rather high with the hosts leading 1-0. The Kiwis could square the series, the home side could seal a 2-0 triumph or the match itself, to be played with a pink ball, could end in a draw.
Nothing will ever beat a Test match in my book as far as cricket goes. My uncle calls the 50-over stuff “the schoolboy version of the game” and I have dubbed T20 “Street Cricket”. Another of my friends says there is cricket, ODIs and T20s. However no one gives a hoot what we think. What the administrators really care about is bums on seats. The reality is that 20-over cricket attracts large crowds and Tests are the least successful commercial entity. Despite that it remains the only true test of a cricketer’s abilities and mental strength and this is why the players and the suits must do whatever is necessary to keep the game’s oldest version relevant.
And so we have an innovative day/night Test match. There is a part of me hoping it will prove to be a roaring success on all fronts. However there is another more traditionalist, and probably curmudgeonly, side that hopes it is a disaster. My concern stems from the dramatic differences potentially between batting during the day and night conditions.
No doubt Adelaide was strategically selected for this mission but surely day/night Tests are not possible at just any ground in the world. I shall use my beloved Newlands as an example. Winning the toss and batting in a day/night 50-over match almost always guarantees victory. Cape Town is just not suited to day/night Test cricket from what I can gather but then for the reasons the Mother City is not ideal, most coastal cities would fall into this category. And what of the subcontinent pitches where fielding at night with the heavy dew makes life so difficult? So that rules out the subcontinent for day/night Tests you would think.
Then there is this pink ball. Australian state cricketers, including Mitchell Starc, have said the pink ball makes for very boring cricket. Not that Martin Guptill will mind. The Kiwi opening batsman helped himself to a century against Western Australia on Sunday playing with the pink Kookaburra.
So in conclusion I am rather sceptical but I am willing to see how this one goes and in all honesty if it proves to be good for the game of Test cricket, then let’s do it.